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In May, DSS announced that the agency, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, would fund the six-month fellowship program and leadership academy, which would provide training and technical assistance to 15 fellows based on nominations of individuals who have demonstrated leadership in the delivery of social services.
"We want to recognize and support individuals in the social service area who demonstrate innovative thinking and problem-solving, and arm them with the training and leadership skills they need to be future leaders in social services," said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols. "The Innovation in Louisiana Government Fellowship is an exciting opportunity for DSS and our government and community-based partner agencies to build a community of leadership and to develop collaborative solutions to improve social service outcomes in our state."
Potential nominees include individuals within state government or community-based organizations who are committed to improving the social service delivery system. Nominees should have ideas for social service projects that can be developed over the course of the six-month fellowship into ready-to-implement initiatives.
Once selected, fellows will collaborate to develop implementation plans for individual fellowship projects that have the potential to foster change in business processes that achieve cost savings and increase efficiencies, intervention strategies that achieve improved client outcomes or systems level integration strategies that lead to improved service delivery.
During the six month program, fellows will participate in an Innovation and Leadership Academy, which will consist of both a virtual learning environment and a formal curriculum including expert speakers, technical assistance, peer information sharing, collaborative social networking tools, and Web-based meetings and teleconferences.
Upon completion of the fellowship, the best developed innovation project will receive a $1,500 award. All participants will receive a $500 stipend, and their employing organization will receive a $500 staff development award.
The new deadline for nominations for the first class of fellows is Friday, July 10, by 5 p.m. Visit www.dss.state.la.us/leadership for information, nomination instructions and an online nomination form. Self-nominations are allowed.
For additional information or questions about the Innovation in Louisiana Government Fellowship or the nomination process, contact Brandon Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Innovation in Louisiana Government Fellowship is part of a set of new initiatives DSS will use to develop leadership and foster innovation in the social services arena.
Nichols also will appoint a Social Services Leadership Forum of statewide community, industry, governmental and non-governmental representatives to advise DSS on policy and program issues and provide input on innovative solutions to help streamline DSS services and increase the efficiency of business practices.
The Forum will confirm the 15 participants selected for the fellowship program and host a twice yearly Leadership and Innovation Conference to serve as the orientation and graduation for the fellows.
In addition, DSS will hold monthly Web casts for DSS stakeholders to provide networking opportunities and updates on new and ongoing DSS programs. As part of these virtual meetings, DSS will arrange for nationally recognized guest speakers to give lectures and facilitate discussions about issues that are important to the social service delivery system in Louisiana.